Neelusha takes on the Crazyman
Visually impaired athlete Neelusha Jennings contested the Crazyman event in the weekend. To complete the capitals favourite multisport event Neelusha traversed Wellingtons harbour and hills with the help of sighted athletes James Coubrough, Peter Colvin & Will Bell.
"I was pretty nervous about the race especially the mountain bike which I had no experience on and the run at the end as I knew I would be tired when it got to that time and my balance, sight and coordination gets pretty bad. I had already chipped my tooth when going over the course in practice." commented Neelusha. "My race support were integral at that time."
Credit - Donna Jennings.
The Crazyman is considered a fun, but technically challenging course in parts, over the 13km paddle, 28km MTB and 13km run to the finish, but for Neelusha with just 30% of vision brought it's own additional challenges.
"I had trained over the whole course. I was most unfamiliar with mountain biking. The sport is quite taxing both physically and mentally. There is a lot of stopping and starting, and as a tandem mtb is very heavy, there were many times we couldn't ride and had to get off and push up the hills. I felt comfortable with each stage of the race on it's own, but had little idea how it would go when I put them together on race day."
"My race supporters were amazing. James Coubrough and I kayaked together posting a pretty good time in the double. Peter Colvin is a legend on the tandem mountainbike and I was able to trust him to get me down the single tracks. Both Will Bell and James ran with me, which was fantastic. I felt very supported and was able to go as hard as I could."
"There were a lot of logistics to sort out and as the race director (Michael Jacques) had done everything possible to ensure I was able to finish the race, we had put plans in place if I ended up still on the trail after the last person had finished."
"The race went really well from the start. The kayak went superbly and I was first out on the mountainbike. However I lost time on this stage as the tandem could not keep up with the singles and we ended up pushing the bike up much of the slippery hill trails. The run went pretty well considering my concentration was pretty low. I still tried to go as hard as I could knowing both James and Will were supporting me."
Neelusha completed the 54km Crazyman course in a total time of 6hrs 18min 41secs.
"Finishing the run with the guys was great as I knew I had once more proved that I was Limitless with Support and become the first blind person to finish the Crazyman multi sport race."
In 2012 Neelusha (then Memon), was the first blind athlete to complete the Speight's Coast to Coast from West to East Coast of the South Island, traversing the 243km in the Two Day event.